Effect of tart cherry juice on risk of gout attacks: protocol for a randomised controlled trial

BMJ Open. 2020 Mar 15;10(3):e035108. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035108.


Introduction: Gout is a painful form of inflammatory arthritis associated with several comorbidities, particularly cardiovascular disease. Cherries, which are rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidative bioactive compounds, are proposed to be efficacious in preventing and treating gout, but recommendations to patients are conflicting. Cherry consumption has been demonstrated to lower serum urate levels and inflammation in several small studies. One observational case cross-over study reported that cherry consumption was associated with reduced risk of recurrent gout attacks. This preliminary evidence requires substantiation. The proposed randomised clinical trial aims to test the effect of consumption of tart cherry juice on risk of gout attacks.

Methods and analysis: This 12-month, parallel, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial will recruit 120 individuals (aged 18-80 years) with a clinical diagnosis of gout who have self-reported a gout flare in the previous year. Participants will be randomly assigned to an intervention group, which will receive Montmorency tart cherry juice daily for a 12-month period, or a corresponding placebo group, which will receive a cherry-flavoured placebo drink. The primary study outcome is change in frequency of self-reported gout attacks. Secondary outcome measures include attack intensity, serum urate concentration, fractional excretion of uric acid, biomarkers of inflammation, blood lipids and other markers of cardiovascular risk. Other secondary outcome measures will be changes in physical activity and functional status. Statistical analysis will be conducted on an intention-to-treat basis.

Ethics and dissemination: This study has been granted ethical approval by the National Research Ethics Service, Yorkshire and The Humber-Leeds West Research Ethics Committee (ref: 18/SW/0262). Results of the trial will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Trial registration number: NCT03621215.

Keywords: gout; musculoskeletal disorders; nutrition & dietetics; rheumatology; tart cherry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Pressure
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices*
  • Gout* / diet therapy
  • Gout* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prunus avium*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Uric Acid / urine
  • Young Adult


  • Uric Acid

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03621215